Student Type: Transition Award

Kyle Hesketh


I grew up in the little farming town of Glencoe, in southwestern Ontario. I’m definitely the black sheep in my family. While the rest of my siblings were playing hockey, I loved to read and write stories. My romance with books started at a really young age. I really enjoyed jumping between fiction and nonfiction. I remember reading Lord of the Rings as a kid, and then trying to write my own version of it. There was no limit to my imagination!

But I never thought I could be a writer, so I took practical training in culinary arts when I was older and graduated as a chef in 2019. But in 2022, I had to walk away from that career, because of health issues, so I was left searching.  What do I do now?

I decided to return to writing.  I found out about an open studies Creative Writing course at Selkirk College but in order to take that training, I had to take an upgraded English course first. So, I enrolled in one and found the course instructor to be very supportive of my writing ambitions and encouraged me to enroll in an Associate Arts Program.  She even pointed me in the direction of the BC Scholarship Society so that I could apply for a Transition Award for ABE students pursuing post-secondary education.   When I got the $5,000 Award, I was like, “Holy crap this is really happening.” I was in shock. It’s not every day that good stuff happens to me.

I am really enjoying the Arts Program and have discovered my own writing style. I wrote a book during the pandemic, and had some poetry published. I think writing to me, is a way to make my own weird mark on the world; like, “Hey, I was here.” I still find it bizarre to hear how people react to stuff that was just in my head, before I wrote it down. I guess the joy for me is to create puzzles within my stories, that will grab or intrigue the reader. It’s like music when you get it right. And I love this sense of connecting with people through the stories, and hopefully moving them in some way.  It’s like holding hands with them through time and space, and our imaginations.

Thanks to the BC Scholarship Society and the Transition Award Program for helping me pursue a new dream.

Christopher (Tatt) Charlie


I’ve spent most of my life in Tofino, a small town of 1500. So living in Vancouver the last five years has been an eye opener. Because there are humans everywhere. When I first moved here, getting on the bus was intimidating. People avoid eye contact. They don’t do that in a small town. Everyone knows everybody there. So, it’s different here.  But I have learned to live with the city again. I get on that bus almost every day.

Because I’m a 48 years old student, with a dream, and I feel like the luckiest person alive.

The early years of my story aren’t unusual in our community. A broken family. Father raised in a residential school. Telling us to forget our Indigenous heritage. Try to fit in. Growing up in East Van till I was thirteen. Moving around a lot. Then moving up to Tofino to be with my father. My family’s ancestral homeland. I felt immediately at home there. But a relationship and family came along soon, and I never got to finish school. I worked different jobs, but always something nagged at me. A dream not birthed yet. Laying like an egg inside me. And then the gift of a job in an art gallery, learning about art and artifacts, laying a seed for the future. Then a wonderful job as a tribal park guardian brought me closer to nature and my heritage again.

But still there was something missing. So, when Covid hit, I contacted the native education college in Vancouver, and signed up for three courses. It was tough going back to school in my 40’s. Humbling. Being twice the age of most of the students. “What’s grandpa doing here?” their eyes said, But I stuck with it, and before long, my brain was on fire with learning. Learning how our chromosomes can track everything. How languages, dialects, and ancient cultures are disappearing world-wide. And then I felt the egg cracking inside me. A purpose coming alive. And when I got accepted for an internship at museum of anthropology at UBC and received a Transition Award from the BC Scholarship Society to pay for my training there, my dream came alive.

I began working every day in the museum, poring over Indigenous art and artifacts, learning how to be a curator. Surrounded by the treasures of my people. The art of our dreamers and storytellers. And I thought “These need to come home. Where our young people can see and feel them. Re-connect with their roots. In the lands that these treasures were birthed in.” Do you know there is not one Indigenous museum on native land in this country? Our treasures sit in cold, glass cases, far away from the land, and soil, and the people that created them. The people that need them.

So that is my dream. To create the first Indigenous museum on first nations lands. To see our treasures brought home. That is what I am working towards now. That is the egg that has hatched inside my heart, and has turned my life into a beautiful journey. That is why I get on the bus every day. Some people think I am crazy at 48 to have such a dream. But I already have a piece of land to build our museum on. The dream has begun to take shape. So, if you think you are too old to dream, I’m proof you’re not. Take a chance. Do what I did and apply for the Transition Award from the Scholarship Society. Because we all deserve a second chance. An opportunity to dream again.

To give birth to the silent treasures that lay inside each one of us.